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ATTRA - National Sustainable Agriculture Information Service

Weekly Harvest Newsletter
Sustainable Agriculture News Briefs - December 18, 2013

Weekly sustainable agriculture news and resources gleaned from the Internet by NCAT staff for the ATTRA - National Sustainable Agriculture Information Service website. The Weekly Harvest Newsletter is also available online.

News & Resources

  • Farm to Hospital Resources Introduced
  • Agritourism Development Training Offered Online
  • USDA Organic Transitions Program Grants Announced
  • FDA Issues Guidance on Phasing out Certain Antibiotic Use in Farm Animals
  • Study Shows Nutritional Benefits in Organic Milk
  • Guide Addresses Climatic Considerations for Organic Seed Crops

Funding Opportunities

  • Biotechnology Risk Assessment Grants Program
  • Colorado State University Specialty Crops Program Grower Research and Education Grants
  • Michigan Value Added/Regional Food Systems Grant Opportunity

Coming Events

  • Carolina Organic Commodities & Livestock Conference
  • Grower's Own Conference & Pollinator and Beneficial Insect Short Course
  • Missouri Organic Association Annual Conference

News & Resources

Farm to Hospital Resources Introduced
The Institute for Agriculture and Trade Policy (IATP) has announced several new online resources for connecting hospital food services with local, sustainably produced food. Two reports, one hospital-focused and one farmer-focused, offer insights into opportunities and roadblocks. In addition, IATP has published Farm-to-Hospital resources designed to help hospitals maximize purchase of produce, meat, and other products from sustainable farmers and producers. IATP is also making available Farm to Hospital Toolkit: Hospital Food Purchasing: A Primer for North Central Region Sustainable Farmers/Producers.

Agritourism Development Training Offered Online
Rutgers has posted agritourism development training materials for agricultural educators and service providers working with Northeast farmers. The online materials include fact sheets, six training modules, short training videos, and a number of supplemental hands-on resources for farmers, such as checklists for food safety, farm safety, and emergency response.

USDA Organic Transitions Program Grants Announced
The U.S. Department of Agriculture's (USDA) National Institute of Food and Agriculture has awarded five grants totaling more than $3 million to support research, education, and Extension programs that will improve the competitiveness of organic livestock and crop producers. The Organic Transitions Program awards include new grants to universities in Florida, Michigan, Minnesota, Texas, and Washington.

FDA Issues Guidance on Phasing out Certain Antibiotic Use in Farm Animals
FDA issued a final guidance document December 11 that explains how animal pharmaceutical companies can work with the agency to voluntarily remove growth-enhancement and feed-efficiency indications from the approved uses of their medically important antimicrobial drug products. Under the voluntary plan, therapeutic uses of these products will also be moved from over-the-counter availability to marketing status requiring veterinary oversight.

Study Shows Nutritional Benefits in Organic Milk
A team led by Washington State University's Charles Benbrook has found that organic milk contains significantly higher concentrations of heart-healthy fatty acids compared to milk from cows on conventionally managed dairy farms. The study is the first large-scale, nationwide comparison of organic and conventional milk, testing nearly 400 samples over an 18-month period.
Related ATTRA Publication: Dairy Resource List: Organic and Pasture-Based

Guide Addresses Climatic Considerations for Organic Seed Crops
Organic Seed Alliance has released Climatic Considerations for Seed Crops: Guidelines and Field Trainings for Organic and Specialty Vegetable Seed Producers. This guide provides detailed climatic considerations, including environmental influences on pollination and fertilization, and the influence of temperature, day length, frost-free days, precipitation, and wind on organic and specialty seed production in the Northwest.
Related ATTRA Publication: Seed Production and Variety Development for Organic Systems

>> More Breaking News

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Funding Opportunities

Biotechnology Risk Assessment Grants Program
USDA National Institute of Food and Agriculture (NIFA) is accepting applications for the Biotechnology Risk Assessment Research Grants Program to support environmental assessment research concerning the introduction of genetically engineered (GE) organisms into the environment. Applications may be submitted by any U.S. public or private research or educational institution or organization. NIFA anticipates the amount available for this program in FY 2014 will be approximately $4 million.
A letter of intent to apply is required by January 17, 2014.

Colorado State University Specialty Crops Program Grower Research and Education Grants
The Specialty Crops Program at Colorado State University is accepting applications for Grower Research Education Grants for research, demonstration, and/or education projects addressing specialty crops production, processing, and marketing issues faced by small farmers, beginning farmers, or socially disadvantaged farmers in Colorado. Grants up to $10,000 are available for an individual grower project or grants up to $25,000 for a project by a group of producers.
Proposals are due by January 10, 2014.

Michigan Value Added/Regional Food Systems Grant Opportunity
The Michigan Department of Agriculture & Rural Development will accept proposals
intended to establish, retain, expand, attract, and/or develop value added agricultural processing and/or develop regional food systems by enhancing or facilitating aggregation and distribution of Michigan-grown agricultural products. Grants up to $75,000 are available. Applicants must provide a minimum 10% cash match.
Proposals are due by January 10, 2014.

>> More Funding Opportunities

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Coming Events

Carolina Organic Commodities & Livestock Conference
February 12, 2014
Rocky Mount, North Carolina

This is a training event for larger-scale growers—a place to connect with commercial-scale organic producers and organic commodity and livestock experts. Workshops will cover the benefits of organic growing, building organic soils, organic grain varieties, holistic animal management, mob grazing, meat and vegetable sales and marketing, and assessing organic inputs.

Grower's Own Conference & Pollinator and Beneficial Insect Short Course
February 7-8, 2014
Caldwell, Idaho

In Friday's all-day pre-conference workshop, find out how to support pollinators and beneficial insects in their pollination and pest-management services. Grower's Own is an opportunity to network, share, and learn with fellow farmers. Friday evening opens with photographic farm tours. Saturday features farmer-to-farmer discussions. Sessions focus on organic farming methods.

Missouri Organic Association Annual Conference
February 6-8, 2014
Springfield, Missouri

This conference offers more than 50 educational sessions ranging from soil enrichment to successful farm marketing. There are networking opportunities and special events. Featured speakers are Mark Winne, Gary Zimmer, Francis Thicke, and Fred Provenza.

>> More Events

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Weekly Harvest and ATTRAnews Archives
Digital versions of recent and archived Weekly Harvest and ATTRAnews newsletters are available online. ATTRAnews is the newsletter of ATTRA - National Sustainable Agriculture Information Service.

National Center for Appropriate Technology (NCAT) logo and link to home page The National Sustainable Agriculture Information Service - ATTRA - was developed and is managed by the National Center for Appropriate Technology (NCAT). The project is funded through a cooperative agreement with the United States Department of Agriculture's Rural Business-Cooperative Service.

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Valuing Sustainable Agriculture Practices

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ATTRA Webinars
New USDA Cover Crop Termination Policy ~ January 23, 2014. The National Center for Appropriate Technology and the National Sustainable Agriculture Coalition will host a webinar discussing USDA's policy on when and how cover crops can be terminated without jeopardizing crop insurance coverage. Register now!

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